ATLANTA--Georgia State's first road game of the 2011 season will be against a nationally-ranked opponent as the Panthers travel to No. 16/17 Jacksonville State Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET at Burgess-Snow Field at JSU Stadium in Jacksonville, Ala.
The game will be regionally televised on CSS, with live radio coverage on the Georgia State Radio Network, including Atlanta flagship Newstalk 1160 AM (WCFO).
The Panthers (1-1) are facing a ranked Jacksonville State team for the second straight year. The Gamecocks (1-1), coached by Jack Crowe, are ranked 16th in this week's FCS Coaches Poll and 17th by Sports Network/Fathead.com.
Last season, in just its third game ever, Georgia State took a JSU squad then ranked fifth to overtime before falling, 34-27, at the Georgia Dome. The Gamecocks went on to earn a berth in the 2010 NCAA playoffs.
This year, both teams are coming off losses as Georgia State fell to Old Dominion, 40-17, while JSU lost at 25th-ranked Chattanooga, 38-17.
"They are very talented in the skill positions," said GSU head coach Bill Curry of Jacksonville State. "They've got a stout, veteran defense. Their offensive line has some young players. They'll be maturing every week and that's been part of the issues that they've been dealing with. I'm sure they will improve each week. They are very efficient in the red zone, one of the only teams in America to have scored every time they get inside the 20. They will be a formidable opponent in their stadium."
This year's Gamecocks feature former Georgia running back Washaun Ealey, who transferred there in the offseason.
"In 2009, I watched him run for 183 yards against my alma mater at Georgia Tech," said Curry of Ealey. "He is a big-time back. And so is Calvin Middleton, so we think they have two big-time backs."
One of the players trying to tackle Ealey will be GSU linebacker Dexter Moody; the two were high school teammates at Emmanuel County Institute in Twin City, Ga., which won the Class A state title in 2007. Moody is the Panthers' leading tackler through two games with 16 hits.
Curry said his team is working hard in practice this week to put the disappointment of the Old Dominion loss behind them.
"Our team right now is very disappointed, and we have practiced hard to correct the things that need to be corrected," said Curry. "We've practiced hard to redeem ourselves. I believe we are preparing in a manner that will allow us to play our very best
"We don't always understand why we aren't ourselves when it comes time to play, but that's just the human factor," he continued. "The only answer to how we feel right now is to have great preparation all week and go get a win on the road in a tough place to play."
For the first time in two seasons, Georgia State will not have Ben Jacoby in the lineup after the senior suffered a knee sprain against ODU. He will be replaced by sophomore Michael Davis.
"[Michael] did a real good job during the third quarter when Ben left the Old Dominion game," said senior Joseph Gilbert, the Panthers' starting left guard. "It is incredibly hard coming off the sidelines when you're cold, you haven't done anything all game and all of a sudden you have to come in and run things. He did a great job. You can really see him building off of that. I really saw that yesterday in practice and today in practice. He's getting more comfortable calling the huddle, making the line calls and coordinating the offense."